HomePREMIER LEAGUEPep Guardiola can fulfil Sheikh Mansour's Man City vision by doing what...

Pep Guardiola can fulfil Sheikh Mansour’s Man City vision by doing what Sir Alex Ferguson couldn’t


Pep Guardiola can fulfil Sheikh Mansour’s Man City vision by doing what Sir Alex Ferguson couldn’t

Pep Guardiola met Sheikh Mansour this week to discuss Manchester City’s future after winning the treble.

Will Manchester City or Pep Guardiola stop after entering the halls of footballing royalty? No chance.

City became the second English team to win the treble last week, joining Manchester United in winning the Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup in the same season. If there were any doubts left over just how good this City side were, and where they stand in the debate of the greatest sides of all time, they were answered in Istanbul.

After reaching new heights, it would be understandable if Guardiola wanted to take a step back and spend more time on the golf courses than going again next season. His reputation and legacy is secured forever, now.

However, Guardiola rubbished that idea on the pitch of the Ataturk Stadium in Istanbul, saying that City ‘reset at zero’ in pre-season, and will go about defending their three titles and showing that they are not content with just winning one Champions League.

Owner Sheikh Mansour was in attendance in Istanbul to see City complete their rise to the top table just 15 years after his takeover. He has only attended one game in that time before last weekend, but will have been pleased to be in the stadium to see the club’s greatest-ever moment.

He welcomed Guardiola, chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak, CEO Ferran Soriano and Director of Football Txiki Begiristain to Abu Dhabi this week, and they brought all three trophies with them.

Sheikh Mansour ‘assured’ his visitors that City’s achievements this season ’embody the club’s strategy’, and the group ‘reviewed the club’s march, plans and strategies in the sports and investment fields, and plans for 2023/24.’ It was intending to ‘ensure strengthening the club’s position locally, Europeanly and globally.”

That last line is the important one, with the owner and hierarchy not content with one European Cup. They want to become a bigger force in Europe, and therefore the world. City have two immediate chances to do that with the UEFA Super Cup in August against Sevilla to add another new trophy, and the FIFA Club World Cup in December to become World Champions.

City would be clear favourites to lift both trophies, and in truth they are more symbolic titles than holding much reputation at all. The only surprise would be if they didn’t win both.

Guardiola would have another chance to become world champion in 2025, with City qualifying for the extended Club World Cup in June and July of that year. With more elite clubs from across the globe, winning that format may earn more credit. Guardiola’s contract expires in summer 2025, so that could be his final act as City boss, depending on when the contract expires.

It’s reported, and widely felt, that Guardiola will honour the contract extension he signed in November, and that will bring an end to his time in Manchester. If he was to add one or two more Champions Leagues, continue dominating English football, and add a world title or two, it would cement his legacy at the club.

2025 is also a significant date when looking at the raft of players out of contract that summer. Ilkay Gundogan is out of contract this summer, and even if he does sign a new deal, he surely wouldn’t be a City player for the start of 2025/26. Kyle Walker is being linked with a potential exit this summer, and his contract expires in 2024, when he will have just turned 35.

Also out of contract in 2025 are Kevin De Bruyne, Riyad Mahrez, Aymeric Laporte, Nathan Ake and Bernardo Silva. All key players will be over 30, and De Bruyne would have just turned 34. While some may or may not extend those deals, they would need to be replaced at some point.

There is a pressing concern in midfield, with Gundogan potentially leaving this summer, along with maybe Bernardo Silva. De Bruyne will need a successor before long, while Mahrez’s uncertain situation means Phil Foden could be needed out wide despite recent moves into the centre.

The news that City are considering a move for Declan Rice would strengthen the midfield for a long-term period, while there will be a hope that Kalvin Phillips can offer more than he has in a disappointing first year. Foden and John Stones – plus Rico Lewis – have been trialled in midfield areas and could also be re-trained in a new-look midfield.

Whoever arrives, though, may need a year or two to transition from a world-class midfield that has just won the treble to a new-look midfield that will take City forward after Guardiola. It may well be the case that as well as building a side this summer to defend the treble titles, Guardiola needs to build a side that will win trophies after he departs.

If he was to leave a ready-made side, he could give City the last thing a great manager should do – a rebuilt side ready to continue to grow without them.

Take Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, who rebuilt United multiple times over his incredible 26-year spell to win titles and European Cups throughout his tenure. If there was any criticism of Ferguson, though, it would be that the side he left in 2013 was ageing, had outperformed by winning the league that year, and needed a complete rebuild.

Ferguson, fairly, quit on top, and wasn’t prepared to continue for the years it would take to rebuild. Guardiola admits himself he will never reach the incredible numbers of Ferguson, but what he can do is ensure City don’t face a ten-year wait for their next title after he leaves.

If he can do that, he will help Sheikh Mansour achieve his vision for the future both before and after he leaves.

Pep Guardiola can fulfil Sheikh Mansour’s Man City vision by doing what Sir Alex Ferguson couldn’t

Follow us


Most Popular